CHAPEL HILL — Marquise Williams was all smiles after North Carolina’s 80-20 win over Old Dominion Saturday.
The sophomore quarterback had cemented his name in UNC record books in just his fourth start for the Tar Heels, and his third since Bryn Renner suffered a season-ending injury.
North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said he has seen Williams grow as a leader since taking on the role.
“You look at what he’s accomplished since he’s taken over and what this team has accomplished since then, and anytime you’re in an offense like that, it starts at that spot,” Fedora said. “The growth has come in his leadership and the growth has come in his confidence and what he’s doing within the offense. He’s realizing that all he has to do is stay within the parameters of the offense and good things are going to happen.”
Good things happened Saturday, with Williams breaking the school’s single-game total offense record. He also became the fifth UNC player to throw for five touchdown passes in a game.
Williams’ was averaging just fewer than 100 yards passing per game entering Saturday’s contest, with a high of 277 against Virginia Tech.
Williams said he’s always known what he was capable of as a quarterback, but owes much of his success to his teammates.
“(I) just keep being a distributor and keep throwing the ball and just keep letting guys make plays,” he said. “They’re making me look good. I don’t make them look good. I give credit to the receivers and the offensive lineman. That’s why I respect those guys the most. As long as I just keep doing my job for them, we’ll keep going.”
Slow start: While final margin of victory was 60 point, the first quarter was a long, but close affair. The two teams combined for 50 plays for 381 total yards of offense and 18 first downs in a first period that lasted nearly an hour. On special teams, ODU came up with two early plays. The Monarchs recovered an onside kick, but came up empty on the ensuing drive. ODU’s lone touchdown of the quarter came after the Tar Heel’s muffed a punt and ODU recovered. UNC led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter.
Steady presence at OT: Offensive tackle James Hurst made his 47th start, and is one shy of the school record of 48 set by Jonathan Cooper (2009-12). He is one of five Tar Heels to start 30 games.